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Pompeo this week at the UN. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that he had been right to label attacks on Saudi oil facilities an “act of war” by Iran, but said Iran would fail to “goad us into conflict.”

The big picture: The U.K., France and Germany accused Iran yesterday of responsibility for the Sept. 14 attacks. Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia, accused the U.S. of “deception" and warned of "all-out war" if attacked.

  • President Trump has also accused Iran but has not echoed Pompeo's claim last week of an "act of war."
  • Trump denounced Iran’s “bloodlust” in his UN address yesterday, but did not make a case for a military response.

Speaking today at an event hosted by United Against a Nuclear Iran on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Pompeo said the Europeans had “joined reality” in blaming Iran for the attacks and calling for new nuclear negotiations.

  • Pompeo said “everyone in the region and indeed in the world got lucky” that no one was killed in the attacks.
  • Iran, he said, is “calling every play in the playbook to goad us into conflict, to create division between nations and extort them into action, and you should know their playbook won’t succeed.”
  • He said the U.S. would continue to tighten sanctions on Iran, and he announced new sanctions on “certain Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran, contrary to United States sanctions.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the UN today. He has met this week with the leaders of Germany, France and the U.K.

  • He has ruled out a meeting with Trump, insisting no talks are possible unless U.S. sanctions are loosened.

Go deeper: Trump to meet Ukraine's Zelensky at UN amid impeachment frenzy

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.